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Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, Repeat Offenders and the Theory of Deterrence (John M. Olin Ctr. L. Econ. & Bus. Discussion Paper No. 188, July 1996).

Abstract: This article uses a two-period version of the standard economic model of deterrence to study whether sanctions should depend on an individual's record of prior convictions -- his offense history. The principal contribution of the article is to demonstrate that it may be optimal to treat repeat offenders disadvantageously because such a policy serves to enhance deterrence: When an individual contemplates committing an offense in the first period, he will realize that if he is caught, not only will he bear an immediate sanction, but also -- because he will have a record -- any sanction that he bears in the second period will be higher than it would be otherwise.